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"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam

The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.

Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.

Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!

Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.

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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:

Fraud email example:

From: Robert Taylor <>
Date: Sat, 1 Jul 2006 22:37:14 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Attn ; Amarjit Singh

Dear Amarjit Singh,

I am Robert Taylor, a managing director and head of international private Banking at COUTTS & CO, a private banking based in the UK.

I am contacting you concerning a deceased customer, and an investment he placed under our banks management 3years ago.

A few years ago, a client Mr Cosmos Singh, now deceased made a deposit of 5.3 million British pounds. I was assigned to manage this account and turn over same over various investments.

I followed his instructions and invested his funds in high yield areas and have been monitoring the investment. At Maturity of the investment, I made attempts to reach him and get his go ahead to turn over the investments but got no response. I made intense but futile efforts to locate him. I consequently passed the task of locating him to the internal investigations department which soon confirmed that my client had passed on. A person who suited his description was declared dead of a heart attack in Cannes, South of France.

The bank immediately launched an investigation into possible surviving next of kin to come forward to claim his estate. If you are familiar with private banking affairs, those who patronize our services usually prefer anonymity, but also some levels of detachment from conventional processes. In his bio-data form, he listed no next of kin.

In the field of private banking, opening an account with us means no one will know of its existence, accounts are rarely held under a name; depositors use numbers and codes to make the accounts anonymous. This bank even gives the choice to depositors of having their mail sent to them or held at the bank itself, ensuring that there are no traces of the account and as I said, rarely do they nominate next of kin.

Private banking clients apart from not nominating next of kin also usually in most cases leave wills in our care, in this case; our now deceased client died without leaving a will. We immediately instituted our own investigations in good faith to determine who should have right to claim the estate. This investigation has for the past months been unfruitful. We have scanned every continent and used our private investigation affiliate companies to get to the root of the problem.

It is this investigation that resulted in my being furnished with your details as a possible relative of the deceased. My official capacity dictates, I am the only party to supervise the investigation and the only party to receive the results of the investigation. It is quite clear now that our client died with no known or identifiable family members.

This leaves me as the only person with the full picture of what the prevailing situation is in relation to the deposit of the deceased client.

According to normal practice, my bank will by the end of this year broadcast a request for statements of claim. Failing to receive viable claims they will most probably revert the deposit to the Government.

I am prepared to put you forward as next of kin and approve same with a view to release the deposit to you as the closest surviving relation. Upon receipt of the deposit, I am prepared to share the money with you in the ratio of 70/30 in my favor.

This will not be too difficult, counting on the fact that I will be on hand to guarantee the funds are released to you, using my official position. This can be done with your cooperation in a few working days.

At your request, I will provide further information.

It is of paramount importance that you do not contact me via the bank mailing system or swith board telephones about this project as all official lines are periodically monitored to assess our level of customer care in line with our total Quality Management Policy. I will therefore be inclined to feign ignorance if this happens.

Robert Taylor

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